Sunday History Photo / Qld

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 24, 2016 at 07:40
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McCafferty's Coaches was formed in April 1940 when Jack McCafferty began a service from Picnic Point to Rangeville in Toowoomba. In 1955 McCafferty's began operating a service from Toowoomba to the Gold Coast. Over the next few decades McCafferty's expanded to operate long distance services throughout Queensland.

In December 1980 McCafferty's entered the interstate coach market with a Brisbane to Sydney service extending to Melbourne in December 1983. In November 1992 McCafferty's commenced operating Melbourne to Adelaide and Adelaide to Darwin services followed by Sydney - Canberra - Adelaide in late 1993 and Darwin - Broome - Perth in May 1995 making it a national operator. The latter service was withdrawn in June 1996.
The Brisbane to Charleville service was acquired from Skennars in 1992. In 1999 McCafferty's purchased MotorCoach Australia from the administrator of Clifford Corporation. As well as building coaches for McCafferty's it also completed orders for external customers. It closed in 2004 having completed over 60 coaches.


In March 2000 McCafferty's entered into negotiations with Greyhound Pioneer Australia about a possible merge. In September 2000 a takeover bid from McCafferty's for Greyhound was accepted. As part of the deal the McCafferty family sold their shares to Tony McCafferty. In October 2004 the McCafferty family sold its shares to ANZ Bank and George Chapman, and both operations were rebranded as Greyhound Australia.
From the late 1960s, McCafferty's purchased exclusively new Denning coaches. In the first half of the 1990s, 40 second-hand Denning Landseers from a variety operators were purchased for its interstate expansion. From 1994 it began purchasing MotorCoach Australia coaches.
In the 1970s McCafferty's coaches were painted in a white with blue and black, then into the early 1980s, a magenta and blue livery appeared. In 1987 a silver, grey, blue and red livery was introduced followed by a two-tone gold and blue livery, originally intended as a special livery to mark the company's 50th anniversary in 1990, but adopted as standard. The final livery was a sand-like "Platinum" with blue colour scheme to celebrate the company's 60th anniversary.

Before the decision to market the entire McCafferty-Greyhound business under the Greyhound Australia branding, the McCafferty division was getting more flamboyant with its livery application, almost harking back to the rocket days at its formation. This elaborately decorated MCA Marathon High Deck, 461 (60MCC), below seen at Noosa in July 2004, was unique in the fleet.

Clybucca, December 22, 1989 two full tourist coaches collided head-on in the early morning at Clybucca Flat, 12km north of Kempsey, at an estimated combined speed of 200 km/h. The coaches concertinaed into each other, killing both drivers instantly. The force of the impact left the McCafferty’s Sydney-bound coach in the cabin of the TransCity Brisbane-bound coach. The Sydney coach was forced five rows back into the other.

A fleet of air ambulances and helicopters carried the injured to hospitals at Kempsey, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Sydney. A NSW Coroner’s inquiry into the coach collision found that the McCafferty driver fell asleep at the wheel. The driver failed to negotiate a left-hand bend on the highway and the coach crossed to the wrong side and collided with the TransCity coach.
Jack McCafferty was born at Breakfast Creek, Brisbane on 11 March 1914, During the depression in the 1930s, Jack operated a milk run with a horse and cart in Wilsonton.
On 1 April 1940, Jack began his first bus run, the Picnic Point to Rangeville service. Later in 1950, he acquired a co-ordinated bus-rail link from Toowoomba to Brisbane. Over the following years, Jack acquired further services, building the McCafferty's Coaches business into an Australia-wide coach service.
In 1955, Jack was elected as an Alderman to the Toowoomba City Council and within three years he was the 58th Mayor of Toowoomba, an office he held for nine years until his defeat in 1967. During this time, he came to be regarded as a dynamic Mayor who put Toowoomba on the map.


Jack McCafferty died on 12 January 1999 at the age of 84 after a 2-year battle with cancer. His funeral was held at St Patrick's Cathedral and was attended by more than 1,000 people.
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 24, 2016 at 09:59

Sunday, Apr 24, 2016 at 09:59
Another great Sunday History article, Doug! I have fond memories of the OB Bedford bus, as it was my first school bus in 1955.
Four Greek brothers ran a local fleet of Bedford schoolbuses, and they had several of the beautiful Comeng Bedfords as well as the OB, which was the disliked "runt" of the pack!

The Greeks employed numerous locals to drive the buses, and as the area where I lived as a kid (Wanneroo) was full of "reffos", we had all these mad Europeans (Italians, Greeks, Macedonians, Albanians, 'Slavs, amongst many others) driving the school buses!

The OB was often driven by an Italian named Joe Lenzo, but one of the Greek brothers, named Con was often a driver as well.
I'm sure Con hated driving the OB, and considered it beneath him, as he drove it like he hated it!
On the back roads of East Wanneroo, Con would drive that OB like the Devil himself!

Us primary school boys (always sitting at the rear) loved it when Con floored the OB on the way home on long stretches and the speedo was bouncing (along with the valves and the governor!) at 55mph (90kmh)!

I often wonder where all these buses ended up. One often sees old buses in remote places, being utilised as accommodation, falling to pieces, and unloved - yet concealing a vast trove of history.
The bus museum at Whiteman Park attempts to save as many of the important, vintage historical buses as they can - but they never have enough labour or money.

I have fond memories of all the other school buses I often rode on, too - the old diesel half-cab Albions, Guys, AEC's, Thorneycrofts and Leylands.
All slow, all well-worn, even when I was youngster, and all as rough as guts.

All we need now from you is a story about Australia's short-lived, rarely-seen and unique articulated buses from the 1940's and the early 1950's - such as the twin-Ford-V8-powered, Fowler Landliner!

Fowler articulated bus

The Fowler Landliner

Classic British buses in Australia

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Apr 24, 2016 at 10:39

Sunday, Apr 24, 2016 at 10:39
Thanks Ron, the links are great, it would be good to see the Coogee relic in restored condition ,
I travelled to school on a bus too from Chain of Ponds to Millbrook school, it was the Adelaide to Mannum service , I am not sure but it could have been a Mangledorf bus, I will have to make a check on that, Mangledorfs did run a transport business out of Mannun back in the 50's
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